Nov. 05, 2019 UPDATE

Kyoto’s Top 5 Starbucks as chosen by Sharing Kyoto!

Hey, travelers of Kyoto! Do you think that just because you’ve got Starbucks back home that you don’t need to go to any in Kyoto? Don’t get down on Starbucks in Kyoto so quick. With stores located in traditional Kyoto townhouse and in front of magnificent Japanese rock gardens with bonsai-like pine trees, Starbucks in Kyoto both reflects and respects the profound culture of the city.
Starbucks

With locations across the globe, at this point, Starbucks is a household name. As a result, you're either used to going or sick of seeing them in your home country. Meaning that you're also probably planning on skipping any in Kyoto, right?

Well, don't be so hasty. The Starbucks in Kyoto aren't like any old Starbucks. With everything from Japan-exclusive drinks, like their huge matcha range, and Kyoto only goods to views of beautiful Japanese-esque scenery, the Starbucks here are simply awash with nods to the city and its culture.

In this blog, I, Sakurako, will introduce you to Sharing Kyoto's picks of the top 5 Starbucks in Kyoto!


Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka ChayaIf we're talking about Kyoto Starbucks, then there's nowhere more Kyoto-like than the Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya store. 

Located in the tourist area of Ninenzaka, this location is quite possibly the most famous Starbucks in Kyoto. 

The building which houses the store is an over 100-year-old traditional Japanese house, which has even had parts of it designated under Japan's "Groups of Traditional Buildings" category for historic buildings.

interior design

Although the exterior is a big draw for many, the real quality of this location lies in the interior design. As the store remains much in the style of the original machiya townhouse it's located in, as you pass through the old-fashioned noren shop flag out front, a world of incredible traditional Kyoto design opens up before you. 

 Inside, the classically Japanese elements of the front garden, courtyard, inner garden, and second-floor tatami bamboo mat room fuse with the modern aesthetics of Starbucks and strike an exquisite balance between old and new.


This store is in a highly populated tourist area, so expect crowds and make sure you have time to spare.


Popularity: ★★★★☆
Kyotoness: ★★★★★
Individuality: ★★★☆☆


Link to the blog post: https://sharing-kyoto.com/Blog/b_starbucks



Starbucks Coffee Kyoto-Sanjo-Ohashi

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto-Sanjo-OhashiOverlooking Kyoto's famous Kamogawa River, the Sanjo Ohashi Starbucks has some of the best and most Kyoto-esque views of any おof the coffee chain's locations in the city.

During summer, this Starbucks opens up it's riverside kawayuka terrace for customers to relax and enjoy their coffee on. 

You might miss it at first, but this store also has a basement level, which can be accessed via stairs left of the entrance.

yuka

This spacious floor that greets you at the bottom belongs entirely to this Starbucks and offers close-up views of the river and several sofas.

With so much space and so many comfy places to plant yourself, this basement floor is a great place to relax and enjoy the river scenery. Located right near downtown and easy to get to, this Starbucks can be a fantastic place to grab a rest during your sightseeing adventures.


Popularity: ★★★☆☆
Kyotoness: ★★★★☆
Individuality: ★★☆☆☆



Link to article: https://sharing-kyoto.com/eat_Starbucks-Sanjoohashi



Starbucks Coffee Tsutaya Kyoto Okazaki Store

Starbucks Coffee Tsutaya Kyoto Okazaki StoreThe Kyoto Okazaki Starbucks is located next to one of the city's most famous tourist spots, Heian Jingu Shrine.

 Teaming up with book store Tsutaya, this Starbucks offers a delightful space surrounded with books where you can sit back with your coffee and enjoy a good read.

first floor

Although the first floor may seem cramped, when you take the elevator to the third floor, you'll step out into a spacious area with a number of big tables and sofas.

However, there aren't many places for bigs groups to sit, so we recommend coming here if you're visiting nearby Heian Jingu Shrine with one or two other people.

In autumn and spring, we also recommend having your coffee out on the terrace.


Popularity: ★★★★☆
Kyotoness: ★★☆☆☆
Individuality: ★★★☆☆



Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Uji Byodo-in Omote Sando

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Uji Byodo-in Omote SandoFeaturing a fusion of modern and traditional Japanese designs, this Starbucks sits right outside matcha capital Uji City's famous Byodo-in Temple. The large entranceway is designed like a Japanese rock garden and features a single magnificent bonsai-like Japanese pine tree. With its striking use of glass, the interior is given an open and airy atmosphere. Inside you'll also find artworks of rabbits inspired by the myths of nearby Ujigami Shrine, giving the coffee shop the wonderful feeling of being connected to its local. 

matcha lattes

Also, as this Starbucks is in Uji City, matcha lattes are, of course, offered on the menu. This area of Uji is packed with matcha flavored drinks, sweets and other treats, so if you make your way here, then why not make a day of it and enjoy all the other matcha things there in the area.


Popularity: ★★☆☆☆
Kyotoness: ★★★★☆
Individuality: ★★★☆☆



Starbucks Coffee Kyoto BAL

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto BALLocated inside the BAL department store and featuring modern art and a super cool concrete interior, this Starbucks is almost like an art gallery. As it’s tucked away inside the massive BAL department store, you’re sure to catch yourself going, “wait, there’s an art gallery, no, a Starbucks here?!” 

As BAL is located on Kyoto’s main shopping street of Kawaramachi-dori, this Starbucks is also incredibly easy to get to. 

anti-Kyoto-esque aesthetic

While you may get the impression that this store has an almost anti-Kyoto-esque aesthetic, it’s in the people of Kyoto’s nature to accept such new and exciting pieces of culture and things.

This Starbucks helps lift the veil on the Kyoto people and provides you with a glimpse into the fact that they genuinely love taking on the new while simultaneously respecting the old.


Popularity: ★☆☆☆☆
Kyotoness: ★☆☆☆☆
Individuality: ★★★★★


Kyoto-exclusive mugs and tumblers

Don’t forget to check out the Kyoto-exclusive mugs and tumblers while you’re visiting any of these places too.

 Starbucks’ Japan Geography Series is a line of goods that feature designs depicting everyday life in the different regions of Japan. The Kyoto-exclusive items feature designs of young maiko and Kamogawa River-side couples, or kamo-ples, sitting side by side – scenes that would make any local blow air through their nostrils in amusement.

seasonal items

Additionally, there are exclusive seasonal items that feature designs such as Japan’s magnificent fall foliage and cherry blossoms. 

 Next time you’re at a Starbucks in Kyoto, don’t forget to check out some of these goods at the front of the store.

Sakurako[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
I think Starbucks in Kyoto has a ton of interesting and unique locations. My personal recommendation out of the five would have to be the last one, the Kyoto BAL Store. While it might not be the most Kyoto-esque, it skillfully reflects another side of Kyoto, its art scene. Capturing the fact that Kyoto is home to a number of art schools and a growing community of young artists, this Starbucks gives off a uniquely Kyoto feeling, just not in the way most would expect. Also, the Kyoto BAL store sells a ton of different merchandise not limited to only the Japan Geography Series, so out of the entire list, this is the one that I recommend you go to the most.
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